Android 8.1 feature spotlight: Android System notifications have a new Oreo icon
Android 8.1 feature spotlight: Bluetooth battery level comes to all devices, now shows battery bar in Quick Settings
Android 8.1 feature spotlight: Settings gets a search bar on top à la Pixel 2
Android 8.1 feature spotlight: Automatic light and dark themes no longer exclusive to Pixel 2
[Update: Not all devices] Android 8.1 feature spotlight: The sRGB toggle has been removed entirely from Developer options
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In the past couple of years, many apps have traded small search icons for full-width search bars. The Google Play Store is a prime example of this, and it makes hitting the search button much easier. To my eye, it improves the appearance of the app as well, but that's subjective. The Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview has brought the top-mounted search bar to all devices, marking another Pixel 2-exclusive lost.
left: 8.0. right: 8.1.
The search bar has the same gray layer behind it that the 'Suggestions' box does. Tap it, and you'll be able to search for everything you could before. It's still a search function, after all - just one with a new coat of paint. However, it does stay on top of your screen while scrolling, which makes looking for things just a bit more convenient.
If you're curious about those dimmer soft keys and white nav bar in the 8.1 screenshot, you may want to comb through this feature spotlight.